BJP, PC conspicuously silent
Most of the mainstream political parties barring the rightwing Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies Peoples Conference (PC) Sunday came together to condemn the killing of six civilians in Laroo village of south Kashmir’s Kulgam district after a gunfight in the area.
National Conference (NC) President Farooq Abdullah and Vice President Omar Abdullah while terming the killings as “highly unfortunate” said they were shocked and anguished over the killing.
Farooq said there was an immediate need to put an end to the civilian killings.
“It is heart-rending to learn about such incidents which have become the norm of the day. The situation calls for immediate de-escalation from all sides,” the NC President said expressing his “heartfelt” condolences with the bereaved families.
NC Vice President and former chief minister Omar Abdullah said, “Our words can do little good to those who lost their loved ones. I pray for the peace of the souls of those who lost their lives and a speedy recovery for all the injured. I pray to the Almighty to give courage to the families of victims to bear the loss.”
Omar said six civilian casualties in Kulgam do not augment well for peace to return to the State.
“A whole new generation is growing in conflict and what needs to be done is to start a time-bound and result-oriented dialogue process,” he said.
Omar said alienating the people in the fight against militancy was a sure fire recipe for losing the fight.
“How long can we go on ignoring the ground realities and living in denial about how bad things are in Kashmir?” Omar wrote on the micro-blogging website Twitter.
NC leaders Ali Muhammad Sagar, Nasir Aslam Wani, Sakina Itoo, G A Shah, Bashir Veeri, Abdul Majeed Bhat, Altaf Kaloo, Syed Shafi, and Imran Nabi Dar also condemned the killing of the civilians and prayed for peace of the departed souls.
The NC leaders demanded a high-level probe to ascertain the details of the civilian killings and demanded exemplary punishment to those found guilty.
People Democratic Party (PDP) President and former CM Mehbooba Mufti expressed “profound grief and shock” over the death of six civilians.
Mehbooba appealed the Governor, Satya Pal Malik to ensure that all Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) were strictly adhered to while dealing with the “security situations” and all the “security agencies” be advised to take precautions to avoid any “collateral damage”.
The PDP President said she was extremely saddened by the news of Kulgam incident where civilians were once again caught in the crossfire of violence, thus adding fuel to the already volatile situation.
“All words of condemnation, condolence sound very hollow at this tragedy,” she said.
Conveying her heartfelt sympathies to the bereaved families, the PDP President sought immediate release of exgratia and other assistance in favour of the deceased civilians and aid to the injured.
PDP leader and Member of Parliament, Muzaffar Hussain Baig while terming the killings of civilians as “highly unfortunate” said there was an immediate need to put an end to civilian killings.
“It is heart-rending to learn about such incidents which have become the norm of the day. The situation calls for immediate de-escalation from all sides,” he said.
Expressing “heartfelt condolences” with the bereaved families, Baig prayed for the peace of the departed souls.
PDP chief spokesman Rafi Ahmad Mir warned the Government of India (GoI) for not shunning it’s “iron fist” response to every situation in the Valley.
Terming that the “militaristic approach” of an “un-elected government” would further alienate the people, Mir said, “It’s a mockery of democratic values when a day after results of sham elections, brutality is unleashed on civilians.”
Mir urged for initiation of dialogue process and re-implementing of the unilateral ceasefire.
“Government of India’s myopic vision of taking Kashmir as a development issue and subsequently handling operations without SoPs casts a bad reflection on the overall political atmosphere,” the PDP chief spokesman said.
State Congress chief Ghulam Ahmad Mir while expressing deep shock and grief over the civilian’s killing said he was anguished over the deteriorating situation in south Kashmir.
“The government forces should exercise restraint ensuring that there is no loss of civilians,” Mir said. “People should avoid confronting government forces as that will invite action by them leading to the loss of lives.”
Conveying his condolences to the bereaved families, he said the killing of civilians would vitiate the atmosphere in the Valley, which was detrimental for peace initiatives.
MLA Kulgam and CPI (M) State Secretary Muhammad Yousuf Tarigami expressed pain and sorrow over the killing of civilians in the explosion.
Tarigami said the killings had become an everyday norm in Kashmir now.
“On Friday, a pregnant woman was killed in Pulwama and today a number of civilians lost their lives in Kulgam while several others are injured. It is really so painful to see such killings happening every day in Kashmir,” he said.
Tarigami said it was “unfortunate” that New Delhi was watching all this like a mute spectator and seemed to be in no mood to address the issues politically.
“There is a deep sense of alienation among Kashmiris, especially the youth. It is this deepening alienation and anger, which is driving young and old toward deadly gunfight sites,” Tarigami said.
Democratic Party Nationalist (DPN) President Ghulam Hassan Mir demanded a high-level judicial probe into the incident that led to the killing of civilians and called for punishment to the guilty.
“I extend my heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families and stand with them in this hour of grief and shock,” Mir said.
Independent MLA Langate, Engineer Rasheed while condemning the killings appealed the world community to help in stopping the “genocide of Kashmiris.”
“Every day is a black day for Kashmiris and New Delhi seems to have decided to silence Kashmiris at all costs,” Rasheed said. “Those who have been misleading the world community and defaming Kashmiris by calling few unfortunate killings of Kashmiris Pandits as ‘ethnic cleansing’ should come forward and explain why Kashmir is being turned into an experimental lab just to avoid a resolution of Kashmir dispute.”
He said it was unfortunate but a bitter truth that “Kashmiris are being killed only for being Muslims”.
“Had it not been so at least the civil society of India and various political parties at the all-India level would have often raised their voice against these cold-blooded murders,” he said.
Peoples Democratic Front Chairman and MLA Khan Sahab, Hakeem Yaseen while expressing concern over the civilian killings in various parts of Kashmir valley said there was an immediate need to end the ongoing violence as Kashmir was losing its creamy layer of young generation.
Jammu Muslim Front (JMF) while condemning the civilian killings in Kulgam demanded punishment for those “government forces who had killed innocent people”.
JMF Chairman Shuja Zafar and its President Qazi Imran expressed serious concern over the killing of civilians.
“Kashmir is passing through tough times. The government forces must restrain themselves from opening fire at the civilian population during gunfights or protests because it will further add to worsen the situation,” they said.
They said Governor Satya Paul Malik and Advisor Vijay Kumar must hold an emergency meeting with the government forces to ensure proper SOP was followed and more civilian deaths are avoided.
They said Jammu Kashmir needs a serious look into the policy of establishing peace not though the barrel of gun.
“Talks with the different section of society are missing. Government of India must take a serious look. People have been alienated,” they said.